Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2013 Free Holiday Download - "Carol of the Bells"

What's better than free eggnog?  Free music!  You can now hear my 2013 holiday single, Carol of the Bells*, on Youtube:

and between now and January 5th, you can download it for free right here:

This is my gift to you, dear listeners!  I hope it makes your day a little more festive.

With warmest wishes for the season,


*Does not contain eggnog.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 2013 Newsletter: Return of the Night of the Living Blog

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery bridge.  Are those hoofbeats I hear in the distance?

Samantha's Recent Happenings

  • Second draft of my fairytale book project is complete.  I'm fairly happy with the new refined version of the stories.  Soon it will be time to present them to a potential editor and publisher! When I began this project back in January, I had no idea just how daunting writing a first book would be.  It's been a huge learning curve for me-- finding my voice in fiction, developing characters, organizing ideas and images into compelling narratives, and, most basic of all, simply finding the time and energy to sit down and write in the midst of a busy performance and teaching schedule.  Speaking of which, NaNoWriMo is coming up next month.  Are any of you participating in it this year, or have done so in the past?  If so, what is your strategy for tackling new stories?  I'd be very interested to hear about your experiences in the comments section of this post.
  • September saw the release of Boston-based composer/pianist Marika Takeuchi's second album, Impressions.  Marika's beautiful, healing music draws inspiration from the Romantic and Impressionist eras of classical music, as well as new age and film score genres.  I was honored to have been a part of the recording of Impressions (I play viola in the string section).  I look forward to performing selections from the album in an upcoming benefit recital with Marika next month!  (see further down under "Concert Calendar")
  • This fall's Middle-earth Network Hobbit Day celebration was bigger and better than ever.  Participants from all across the globe contributed segments to the day-long livestream event, including music, drama, academic talks, art demonstrations, cooking segments, fan discussions, and more.  Author Heath Dill (whose hobbit-themed cookbook project, Medium Rare and Back Again, was successfully funded via Kickstarter last year) hosted a segment at the Green Dragon tavern in Boston, where bouzouki-player Lindsay Straw and I performed a set of live Irish music.  Sadly, I don't have video to share of it after all, but the setting was the perfect atmosphere for the occasion, and fun was had by all.  How did you celebrate Hobbit Day?
  • Special thanks to Tom Quick of CKWR in Kitchener, ON for playing some of my Celtic Chamber Music album on the September 22nd episode of his Celtic Connections radio program.  Do you have a favorite Celtic, world, or classical music radio show in your area?  If so, please mention it in the comments!  My album has been played on several radio stations, internet streams, and podcasts throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, but it's always helpful to find out more about what's out there and which stations are looking for new music.

Concert Calendar

Rindge, NH
The Impressions Duo: Music to Celebrate the Season of Gratitude
Concert hosted by the First Congregational Church & Society of Rindge, 6 Payson Hill Rd., Rindge, NH
With Marika Takeuchi (composer/pianist) & Samantha Gillogly (violin)
Time: 3:00pm
Admission: 1 canned good per person, to benefit the Rindge Congregational Church food bank

Photo Travelogue

Providing music for the young May Queen(s) and Knight at the 2013 QVCAH May Day Festival [Photo via QVCAH's Facebook]

Soaking up the sun (as best as a pasty individual like myself can) at the Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival in June

Serenading some dancing sprites at the Martha's Vineyard Midsummer Faerie Festival, also in June

Modeling a gorgeous henna design by the amazingly talented Henna by Heather at the MV Midsummer Faerie Festival

The schooner Alabama, approaching Vineyard Haven

State Beach, Oak Bluffs

Serenading a surprise wedding proposal for a client and his girlfriend on Block Island, RI in August

The Bluffs on Block Island.  It was a beautiful day!

Lake George in upstate NY. Site of another surprise proposal performance. Seems to be a trend! 

Pasture outside Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, MA (wedding ceremony performance venue in September)

Just before playing a rehearsal dinner/family reunion event in Tarrytown, NY, I stopped by the real village of Sleepy Hollow. This is the Old Dutch Church cited in Washington Irving's classic tale.

Irving's gravesite, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

I got to play in Central Park earlier this month! This seasonally-appropriate kitty perched on a park bridge was gracious enough to pose for a photo op.

Note-worthy Noms

I have to admit, I find the popular internet cooking program Cooking With Dog to be utterly adorable.  And I am totally mystified as to how Francis the Dog stays so calm and well-behaved next to all that delicious food.
  • Halloween Pumpkin Pudding by Cooking With Dog.  I made it almost exactly as the recipe calls for, but used regular old canned pumpkin instead of kabocha squash.  I also didn't have any maple syrup on hand for the topping, but I imagine it would taste great.  What makes this recipe interesting is it never calls for pumpkin pie spice, so it's a very different flavor from what most North American taste-buds would deem a "fall flavor."  It's creamy with a mild, natural-tasting sweetness that's not overpowering.  Sort of a cross between custard and the smell of carving a jack-o'-lantern.
Do you have a favorite pumpkin-oriented recipe?  Please share in the comments!


Between now and November 10th, I will once again be offering my spooky single, Danse Macabre, as a free download on CDBaby.  If you like what you hear, please leave a review!  

Have a Happy Halloween!

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 2013 Newsletter: Faeries, Shape-shifters, and Leafy Green Things

"Fiddleheads" - Photo by Samantha Gillogly

Samantha's Recent Goings-on

  • The first draft of all four stories for my upcoming fairytale book project are DONE!  Now comes the challenge of editing...  In the meantime, here's a teaser of the story titles:
The Golden Arrow
The Widow by the Sea
A Garland as Long as the Year

  • Last month, I performed with Celtic-World fusion band Calon at the New England Folk Festival in Mansfield, MA.  We got a good turn-out, and were very well received.  This was my first year at NEFFA, and I had a wonderful time.  After the performance (and tucking into some delicious Lithuanian food in the international-cuisine cafeteria), I headed over to the gymnasium to join in a massive Breton folk-dance party, where I learned how to dance An Dro.  (If you've never witnessed Breton folk-dancing, especially on a large scale, it is a truly inspiring site to behold: hundreds of dancers hold hands in a giant ring, then break off into smaller rings and lines which snake and spiral around each other like the pre-Celtic stone carvings of Newgrange, all while accompanied by skirling bagpipes and great thundering drums.)

"The new endeavor, called Gwion, will attempt to harness the Myth, Magick & Mayhem that was the life of my favorite Welsh bard Taliesin... [The] project will use the words of Taliesin, which I will put to music, and my newly composed material and songs from the British tradition...."

Concert Calendar

Southbridge, MA
Music by Riverbend & Friends (Celtic), Livestock (Bluegrass), and Samantha Gillogly (Celtic fiddle)
Time: Noon-6:00pm
Location: The QVCAH Arts Center
111 Main St., Soutbridge, MA
All ages, admission FREE 

Oak Bluffs, MA
Midsummer Faerie Festival
Time: 10:00am-5:00pm
Location: Washington Park - Corner of New York Ave./Lake St. and East Chop Dr., Oak Bluffs, MA
Music, arts/crafts, puppetry, magic tricks, body art, and more.  Don't forget to wear your wings!
All ages, admission FREE

Photo Travelogue

Amazing mountain view at wedding reception performance
Chittenden, VT  3/24/13

From another wedding reception performance: Check out this fabulous Celtic-inspired cake!
Providence, RI  4/20/13

Note-worthy Noms

...and speaking of CAKE....
  • Brown Butter Icing by Martha Stewart.  This is officially my new favorite cake icing flavor: buttery, nutty, vanilla-y, with overtones of toasty caramel.  This goes great with a light-tasting cake, like plain white or sponge cake.  (And hey, Mother's Day and many college graduations are coming up this weekend, so there's plenty of reason to have cake!)  I definitely want to try this with fruit garnishes this summer, when we get into strawberry and raspberry season.


Thank you so much to everyone who reached out to me last month after the terrible events in Boston.  As I mentioned in my April post, neither I nor any of my friends and loved ones were harmed, for which I am beyond grateful.  It's so hard to know what to do or say or how to feel when something like this happens "in your own back yard," so to speak.  One option, if you are interested in making a monetary donation, is The One Fund.  The One Fund is the official charity hub for sending aid to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing who are in critical need of medical care and recovery.  A secure donation can be made here through the website; a postal address is also provided on the site if you prefer to send a check.

New Leaves - Photo by Samantha Gillogly

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 2013 Newsletter: Spring updates

A profusion of magnolia blossoms on Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA
Photo by Samantha Gillogly, taken four years ago during the 2009 Boston Marathon

I had originally intended to write up my usual full-length newsletter today, but as I am still reeling from the news of the horrific explosions at today's Boston Marathon event, I do not feel up to doing this month's installment in the usual light-hearted tone.  The incident happened only blocks away from Berklee College of Music, my alma mater, and about a 5-minute walk from where I used to live when I was in school.  I live much further away nowadays, in central Massachusetts.  Thankfully, most of the people I know from the Boston area were either out of town today or have checked in as safe.  My thoughts are with those who were not so fortunate, the victims and their families.

With that said, I will keep the April newsletter brief and essential, with just a few updates for interested readers:

  • I will be performing this weekend on Saturday, April 20th at the New England Folk Festival with Celtic/World fusion band Calon.  The festival will take place at the Mansfield High School in Mansfield, MA.  Our set will run from 1:00-1:50pm.  Check out NEFFA's website for details on tickets, parking, and a full schedule of performers and events.

  • Last month, the Warriors of the Westfold welcomed me back as a guest on their St. Patrick's Day special.  You can find both the Youtube video and the audio podcast of this episode here.

  • The fairytale project I mentioned in last month's post is coming along well.  I am three stories down, and halfway through a fourth.  Once those are finished, I will begin the editing process, followed by the artwork. The scale of the project can feel a little daunting at times, but I am taking it bit by bit and greatly enjoying it.  I'm very excited to see it taking shape.

That's all for now.  Regular long-ish newsletter will resume in May.  In the meantime, be well, stay safe, and hug your loved ones.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March 2013 Newsletter: In like a dragon

Welsh Dragon by Samantha Gillogly

After a bit of winter hibernation, the newsletter is back!

It hardly feels like spring here in the frozen wilderness of New England; but while the snow still clings to the earth, and a certain groundhog regrets his rather hasty prognostication, I've been steadily working away at some exciting new projects:

  • Celtic-World fusion band Calon, of which I am now a member, is working up new musical material, tentatively planned to be premiered some time this coming May or June.  
  • On the solo front, I am in the early stages of developing a book of original fairytales (written and illustrated by me) for young adults and grownups.  Watch this blog for continuing updates on this project.
  • March is an important month for Celtic holidays: not just St. Patrick's Day on the 17th, but St. David's Day (in honor of the patron saint of Wales) on March 1st.  To celebrate, I'm offering two free downloads all month long off of my Celtic Chamber Music album-- track 3 (the Irish "Star of the County Down") and track 9 (a set of four Welsh tunes).  Click here to download, and don't forget to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ using the "share" button next to each track.

"Back by popular demand is special guest, Samantha Gillogly! We first welcomed the talented musician and composer to the show during our Celtic episode, where Samantha played LIVE – and it remains one of our top viewed episodes. Needless to say, we are very excited about welcoming her back, and are looking forward to hearing more of her wonderful music."

Concert Calendar

Want to be part of our street team?  Simply download this poster image and print it out to hang in your local Boston metro-area library, post office, school, house of worship, or supermarket. Or, share it on Facebook!

Storrs, CT
Seachtain na Gaeilge Irish arts performance event
Time: 6:00-7:00pm
Location: Buckley Residence Hall (in the dining area)
University of Connecticut, Storrs Campus
1276 Storrs Rd., Storrs, CT
Event FREE to UConn students/staff

Sturbridge, MA
The Gypsy's Cauldron Grand (Re)Opening Party
Time: 2:00-5:00pm
Location: The Gypsy's Cauldron - 559 Main St., Suite 201, Sturbridge, MA 01518
Admission: FREE
Free refreshments - Free Henna Body Art from 2:00-4:00pm by Ancient Fire Henna - Live Middle-eastern Music by Carmine & Friends - Open dancing and drum jam - Shopping to your heart's content!

Dedham, MA
Church service performance
Time: 10:30am
Location: St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 950 East St., Dedham, MA

Dedham, MA
An Afternoon of Celtic Chamber Music
St. Patrick's Day musical celebration and fundraiser
with Samantha Gillogly, violin; Tim Maurice, piano
Time: 4:00pm
Freewill donations welcomed to benefit St. Luke's Church
Location: St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 950 East St., Dedham, MA

Photo Travelogue

Performing at the QVCAH Winter Celebration - Southbridge, MA 12/7/12
(Photo by Antonio Fonseca)

Gale Scott of the Worcester Center for Crafts gives a glassblowing demonstration
at the QVCAH Winter Celebration
(Photo by Antonio Fonseca)

Don Chapelle creates an owl ice-sculpture at the QVCAH Winter Celebration
(Photo by Antonio Fonseca)

Note-worthy Noms

This time, rather than copying an entire recipe to the body of this post, I will simply link you to two outstanding online recipes to add some flair and flavor to your St. Patrick's Day dinner:

  • Guinness BBQ Sauce by Steve Cylka of The Black Peppercorn food blog.  Try mixing it into a batch of slow-cooked pulled beef to make Guinness BBQ beef sandwiches as alternative to the more traditional boiled corned beef and cabbage meal.

  • Irish Pound Cake by MARYANNEQ on AllRecipes.com.  The deliciously genius combination of cream cheese, nutmeg, vanilla, and a dash (or two or three) of whisky makes this buttery pound cake a favorite among desserts I've made for family and friends.  Goes great with coffee or tea.


I have found the following quote and piece of music to be very inspiring during the long winter months:

"Wait, until you take a look inside yourself - 
Recognize, what is growing there.
Oh seeker, a leaf in this garden
is worth more than all leaves you will find
in Paradise!"

--attributed to Rumi, and quoted in the song "Golden Apples" by one of my current favorite bands, German neo-medieval folk group Faun on their 2011 album, Eden:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

To all of you who generously supported me in 2012 with your time, appreciation, and new or continued listenership, THANK YOU!
It is my fond wish that you enjoy a happy, healthy 2013 full of interesting new challenges and rewards, and much creativity.

Musically yours,


Bristol Harbor, Dec. 27th 2012 - Photo by Samantha Gillogly